Education Ministry considers going ahead with centralized national examinations

  • 2020-04-07
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Ministry of Education and Science is considering going ahead with this year's centralized national examinations, particularly for graduation year students, Education and Science Minister Ilga Suplinska (New Conservative Party) told members of the Saeima Education, Culture and Science Committee on Tuesday. 

The minister indicated that later today she will participate in a video call with the European Union's foreign ministers to learn about the decisions taken by other member states regarding the centralized exams. Suplinska noted, however, that the ministry is inclined to hold the exams, but that their form could be changed. 

"The length of the extension [of the state of emergency] will be announced and the scenarios for the exams ready on Thursday, April 9," Suplinska revealed. The minister also informed that "the exams definitely stand for 12th graders and that changes could only be expected in their number, but maybe not". If the graduation year students are able to take their centralized national examinations, nothing will change regarding their enrollment at universities and colleges. 

Ruta Gintaute-Marihina, director of the ministry's department for vocational and adult education, told lawmakers that the Ministry of Education and Science is working with the Health Ministry to prepare instructions and gather information about the necessary protective products, like disinfectants. The schools will be supplied with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) as soon as it is available. 

Whether the centralized national examinations will be held remotely, partly remotely or face-to-face will depend on the epidemiological situation, said the Education Ministry's parliamentary secretary Reinis Znotins (New Conservative Party). 

As reported, Suplinska said on Latvian Television last week that  distance learning in Latvian general and professional schools will last, and, possibly, the usual regime will not be resumed this school year. 

She said that it is hard to forecast the possibility of centralized school leaving exams this year, but the ministry will launch discussion on this issue.

Suplinska said that several scenarios are being assessed right now. "Malta, for example, has cancelled the school year, all pupils of grades 6 or higher will start learning in the same grade next year. Latvia definitely does not wish such a solution," said the minister.

"We hope that we will be able to close the school year in distance learning, and then we will see whether those who apply for universities need the exams organized by schools or maybe they can be organized by universities," said Suplinska.

As reported, in an effort to prevent Covid-19 from spreading further in Latvia, a state of emergency came into force on March 13, setting a number of tough restrictions. Remote learning is organized at schools.